Falling Down at Red Rocks: one incident, many perspectives.

“This chic, like, totally biffed it on the stairs tonight at Red Rocks.  It was so funny!  Her glasses flew off her drunk head and everything!  ‘Here sweetie,’ I called to her. ‘ Don’t forget these.’  LOL!”

“This fucking guy got in my way tonight at Red Rocks.  He was holding this slow ass chic’s hand.  I pushed past his ass to get the the bathroom before them.  Not gonna be waiting behind those two!  Fuck that shit!  As I ran past, this drunk ass cooze fell on her ass.  Good!  Serves her right for holding up traffic!”

“Another drunk fell in the stairs tonight at Red Rocks tonight.  Glad it wasn’t in MY section!  Ain’t my section, ain’t my problem.”

“Some drunk just fell in my section tonight at Red Rocks tonight and then proceeded to sit her happy ass down in the VIP section! Nu uh, chica!  Not on my watch!  Who the hell does she think she is!”

These remarks are what I imagine are the responses I get from people whenever I fall, which is entirely too frequently.  That’s not quite true.  These are not the reactions I get when I fall on the street, in the grocery store, at work.  In situations where it is acceptable to be “handicapped.”  At the bar, a club, a concert, it is a different story.  In these venues, cripples need not apply.  After all, we should be in bed resting up and taking care of our poor little selves.  Furthermore, if we can’t even make it in to the grocery store without taking up all the “primo parking spots” what makes us think we have the right to expend our precious energy on having fun?  I mean, surely we aren’t even CAPABLE of dancing, are we?

Sadly, the reason it is rare to see one of us gimps out in society is that for many of us, we have given in to the fear.  Fear of falling.  Fear of being jostled, or bumped.  Fear of being mocked, derided, misunderstood or ignored.  And, ironically, fear of not being able to find a parking space.  It seems that after midnight, like Cinderella’s coach, handicapped spots turn into VIP parking.

I believe the greatest fear, that has even begun to crush my own exuberant vitality, if the fear of how we will be treated IF something goes wrong.  After all, following my fall at Red Rocks, not one person came to my assistance.  Instead they saw a crazy drunk girl because that was what their assumptions told them this was.  A cripple out for a night of fun was not part of their perceived societal norm so they were incapable of seeing it.  Granted, I did get the attention of the security guards AFTER I sat down in the VIP section.  But they were unwilling to call for assistance even after being told repeatedly that I was disabled.  Their reason?  I wasn’t injured and since the assumption had already been made that I was drunk*, my rights to assistance had been nullified.

My right to expect assistance should not be conditional.  As a fiercely independent disabled person, I find it difficult to ask for help.  But when I do, I don’t expect a second party to determine the validity of my request, nor should it depend on my level of sobriety or cheerfulness.

*On a sidenote, I was not in fact drunk.  At the point when I fell, we had only been at Red Rocks for a half hour.  I had had exactly 1/3 of a vodka lemonade that I shared with my brother and husband.

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